For those who have lost family, friends and neighbors in war, no single day is enough to contain their grief, or to honor those they have lost. But Memorial Day gives us precious time to remember and celebrate the people that war has taken. And a moment to come together – one nation – to let those around us know that they do not grieve alone.

Memorial Day – what we now call Memorial Day – was born in the shadow of the Civil War’s pain and grief. Some 600,000 people were lost in that war, an incomprehensible number even today. As people expressed their grief in the ancient custom of decorating the graves of the fallen with flowers, various Decoration Days began to be observed. Eventually, as we moved forward and learned to grieve together as a nation, a single Memorial Day was established, and in 1971, it became the official federal holiday we observe today.

Supporting Veterans and families.

VA believes that no one should ever have to grieve alone. Particularly on Memorial Day, when memories sharply demand attention, we want Veterans and families to know that we are always here for you. We offer bereavement counseling to parents, spouses and children of Armed Forces personnel who died in service to their country, and to the family members of reservists and National Guardsmen who died while on duty. And we invite Veterans dealing with grief in any form, especially the loss of comrades, to explore the support we provide.

Over time, Memorial Day has come to mean different things to people. But to the VA professionals who dedicate themselves to helping Veterans and families cope with loss, it’s a time to reach out and offer a hand in support of those who need it. And to all of us at VA, it’s when we honor everyone who made the ultimate sacrifice by caring for those who remain.

If you’re interested in a career that honors the people we have lost by serving today’s Veterans, please come and explore all the ways you can serve.

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Published on May. 29, 2017

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 80


  1. Gordon Smith June 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Well the day we set aside to remember the fallen has passed. The young men and women that gave their lives to protect our way of life. There is no real way to thank them, to honor them, the price they paid is beyond all that. I have been lucky enough to know some of the people that gave it all for God and Country, home and family. A few times I was there as they left. 50 years later I am still there, my memory of them does not change, the sadness never goes away, the why will always be a question. I sort of understand the ideological differences between a Communist and a person in a Democracy, a Christian or Muslim. Why people chose one over the other and feel it is their duty to destroy the other is still a real mystery to me. Neither killing nor watching others be killed gave me any comfort that the right thing was being done and it sure only left a hatred for war, no political or religious epiphany. War left my brain scrambled and my life almost too much to deal with, no it was too much to deal with. With time and help the brain allows the memories to have a space and tolerable a lot of the time. Those soldiers will always be with me, they were the family, 8 weeks of basic, 8 weeks of advanced infantry training, 3 weeks of jump school, a couple weeks of jungle training, and one heck of a long plane ride, brought together over a can or two of very old c-rations, in a place so hot and wet or so wet and hot that humans really did not belong there, let alone fight over. It was a long road home from a place you could never leave and coming to a place you were not wanted. The men I knew were special, the men I knew were family, the men I knew will never be forgotten, no matter what the date on the calendar.

  2. robert remel June 2, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Just SHAMEFUL! I’m so sorry.

  3. Victor R Sellers May 30, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    45 years apparently is not long enough for the VA to decide if the MONTH I SPENT HOSPITALIZED IN VIETNAM WAS AN ILLNESS, DISEASE, OR INJURY. Figure that out would you! The VA says I never even complained while in the service, but Four Medical Officers swore that I had Permanent Damage in my organs and systems on DA 3349 46 years ago, but I was told my medical records were all lost intransit from Vietnam. NO THEY WERENT……THEY WERE INTENTIONALLY HIDDEN FROM ME. An experiment or something! I’m Disgusted. Wouldn’t you be, if you were intentionally lied to your whole life to keep you from receiving benefits or getting medical care.

  4. THOMAS GOMEZ May 29, 2017 at 10:39 am


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